Scripture: Paul wrote, “All this
is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the
ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18, NIV
Unwanted stuff, the flotsam and jetsam of society, piled into dumpsters or
out on the curb for pickup. Destined for a landfill, for the most part, where
much of it will remain unchanged for years.
Ours is not the first society in history to dispose
of unwanted rubbish in a dump, of course. Trash heaps are the delight of archeologists,
because these sites preserve the history of a people, especially pottery
fragments, which scholars can read like a well-written book. The city dump
site in the Kidron Valley, outside of Jerusalem, was said to burn continuously
from the refuse deposited there, for example.
Not all castoffs go to the dump of course. Many communities
now sponsor recycling services. Paper, cardboard, steel and plastic items
can be reprocessed into new products. Many community service agencies accept
clothing, furniture and even food products for distribution to needy citizens.
Food banks even pick up leftover food from restaurants - good food, that
would otherwise go into the garbage cans - but instead, nourishes the patrons
of homeless shelters and “soup” kitchens. A worthy
cause, and valuable service. Recycle: to adapt to a new use; to bring back, that which would
otherwise be lost.
While God probably looks favorably upon our efforts
to conserve our material things, the Bible indicates that He has set up
a recycling program for people. That’s right! A program to bring back
lives. The Bible calls it “reconciliation.”
God wants to restore us to friendship with Him, and
to see His people live in harmony with His ways. People drift away from a
relationship with God in many ways, and for many reasons. We call it “sin.”
Atonement for sin, that is, reparation for an offense or injury that results
in separation from fellowship with God, was once accomplished by the sacrifice
of animals according to Mosaic laws and customs. However, a one time for
all time atonement was made for the reconciliation of God and man by the
sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. The book of Hebrews, Chapter 10, compares
the sacrifice of animals and the sanctification that came through
the offering of the body of Jesus. (Hebrews 10:10)
The church is God’s recycling center. We are to be
in the business of reconciliation, according to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.
He writes, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God was making
his appeal through us.”(2 Cor. 5:20) The church is to take in the
flotsam and jetsam of human lives headed for the trash heap of eternity,
and do for the least of these, our brethren, as Christ would have us to
do. The options are clearly explained in Matthew 25:31-46.
I have heard that we may run out of space in landfills
for our material castoffs, but I have never heard of any limitations in
the place of everlasting fire for those who ignore this special ministry
to Seeds For Thinking as a FREE weekly email.